Students Growing Produce for School Lunch Room

A local school district is teaming-up with the community to help kids, teachers and parents go green year round by growing fresh produce.

Kids at the Weston School District, near Cazenovia, are getting ready for spring by planning fruits and vegetables for the school’s lunch room.

"I think that kids enjoy it and they learn where the food comes from,” said Carl Welke, with the Weston garden initiative. “We had fresh sweet corn out of our garden last year and they really, really enjoyed it."

Last spring, Welke says he was looking at some unused land behind the district building and decided it might be a good place for a garden. By the summer, he and some students were planting corn, pumpkins and watermelon.

“Sometimes gardening with kids is like trying to herd cats but its fun,” Welke said. “They all transplanted romaine lettuce that we grew in the green house that they started so it's really a lot of fun."

The school district isn’t doing it alone. Community members have donated time, equipment and plants – which is why students decided to give back by doing some Earth Day good deeds around town.

"I challenged the students this morning to really reflect on the environment and what it means to be a good steward to the environment and responsibility,” said Weston School District Superintendent, Eric Franzen. “We're doing those kinds of things right now that have a message of going green."

The lunch room is filled with home-grown food, not fast foods, which Franzen says many other districts use.

"I think that's good just from the aspect of healthy eating, teaching kids what healthy food is all about rather than preprocessed and packaged things and learning,” he said. “Kids learn a lot from doing this."

With a greenhouse full of plants and apple trees starting to bud, Welke says he’s looking forward to the fresh fruits of their labor.

"That they get a sense of good nutrition and good eats from the garden they can actually grow themselves."

This year, the Weston School District’s garden earned it the state award called Standing Up for Rural Schools.

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